Is Norwegian Cruise Line Cutting Another One of Its Broadway Shows?

Is Norwegian Cruise Line cutting another one of its Broadway shows? Online speculation is that the musical on Prima may get the axe next.

Is Norwegian Cruise Line Cutting Another One of Its Broadway Shows?

Is Norwegian Cruise Line Cutting Another One of Its Broadway Shows?

Norwegian Cruise Line has been cutting back on its high caliber production shows over the past couple years, and unfortunately that could be a trend that’s continuing. In a memo to travel agents, the line has announced that it is putting show pre-booking on hold for a number of sailings aboard Norwegian Prima. The production in question is “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” which debuted on Prima when the ship itself debuted in August 2022.

The cruise line has placed pre-bookings for this Tony Award-nominated musical on hold for the following sailings:

  • March 15
  • March 22
  • March 29
  • April 5
  • April 16
  • April 27
  • May 12
  • May 23
  • June 2
  • June 10
  • June 13

Norwegian Cruise Line has not made any announcements yet that the Donna Summer musical has been cut. Yet, many cruisers are speculating that the extended hold on pre-bookings could spell the end of this show on Norwegian Cruise Line. On Facebook, user Debbie said “Sounds like another NCL show bites the dust,” and Sonia said “We just looked at our cruise and Donna Summer shows have been removed.”

Is Norwegian Cruise Line Cutting Another One of Its Broadway Shows?

The Broadway production narrated the story of Donna Summer’s rise to fame, showcasing the musical artist at three of the most important stages of her career. Different vocalists play Summer in each stage of her life, one of which is “American Idol” finalist Kimberley Locke. The musical features over 20 of Donna Summer’s hits.

What other Norwegian Cruise Line shows have been cut?

Norwegian Cruise Line has cut a lot of its biggest production shows over the past two years. But why is this? In a comment on the same Facebook post, user Janis surmises the same conclusion we’re presuming is true: financial issues following the worldwide shutdown due to the pandemic. “Ugh I hate this demise of ncl entertainment,” she said. “But I understand the reality of the losses from Covid.”

What are the other theater production shows that NCL has cut recently in its fleet? In January 2023, the line discontinued the show “Kinky Boots” aboard Norwegian Encore, which debuted with the ship in late 2019 just months before the cruise industry shutdown.

In summer 2023, “Swing” (Norwegian Gem) and “World Beat” (Norwegian Spirit) both ended. This past fall, NCL canceled “Velvet” (Norwegian Jewel), “What the World Needs Now” (Norwegian Star) “World Beat” (Norwegian Sun), “Footloose” (Norwegian Joy), and “Showdown” (Norwegian Dawn). In January 2024 and February 2024, “Six” ended on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Bliss, respectively.

Why is NCL cutting these shows?

The reason Norwegian Cruise Line may be specifically cutting major Broadway and West End production shows has not been publicized by the cruise line and therefore, we can only speculate.

One of these reasons could be because, since these shows are not original to the cruise line, they are licensed and thus require licensing fees. As cruise lines continue to struggle financially following the pandemic, NCL may be looking to cut the shows that incur the highest licensing fees in favor of shows with lower licensing fees or the creation of original productions.

It’s also possible that the companies that distribute the shows have chosen not to renew their license with NCL. New production shows may also use smaller casts, fewer props and effects, etc. that are less expensive for the cruise line.

Reddit users seem to agree. A user on the website posed the question last month on why NCL seems to be moving away from the Broadway and West End licensed shows. One user said “The big Broadway shows that require a license fee to operate is a big expense for any cruise line… I don’t believe NCL is abandoning entertainment as that wouldn’t make any sense. However if you make a decision to no longer license Broadway shows than you have to create new shows from scratch and from inception to doors open can take up to a year for each show… I’m sure they have some stuff in the works.”

Another commented “They probably lost money due to Covid and want to decrease expenses,” while someone else said “They’re going with ‘cheaper’ entertainment (not Broadway level, individual singers and performers, and so on).”

Beetlejuice to Debut on Norwegian Viva

What NCL shows are still available?

So what shows are still available across Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships? “Beetlejuice,” the biggest show ever produced for NCL according to the line’s senior VP of entertainment Richard Ambrose, just debuted on the brand-new Norwegian Viva last year and is still running.

As well, you can find the popular Broadway and West End dance show “Burn the Floor” on Norwegian Breakaway, Getaway, and Epic. The well-loved “Choir of Man” show is also still running on Norwegian Encore and Escape.

Other shows you can currently find across the NCL fleet include “Blazing Boots” (Norwegian Gem and Jade), the steampunk-inspired “Cirque Dreams Steam” (Norwegian Getaway), “Jersey Boys” (Norwegian Bliss), “Rock You Tonight” (Norwegian Jewel and Sun), and “Million Dollar Quartet” (Norwegian Getaway), among others.


What do you think of the news that Norwegian Cruise Line may be eliminating another one of its Broadway shows? Do you enjoy these cruise productions? Drop us an anchor below to share your thoughts on the entertainment on NCL ships.

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Sarah has been writing about the cruise industry since 2015, and in that time has taken a dozen cruises and counting. Her favorite onboard activities include trying the casual dining options, spending time in the spa’s thermal suite, and attending the love & marriage show. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @IAmSarahJaneB.
Sarah Bretz, Contributor
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Is Norwegian Cruise Line Cutting Another One of Its Broadway Shows?

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